Due to associated costs and complexities, UK SMEs tend to avoid trading with countries outside of the EU, such as Switzerland and Norway. This has sparked fears that the UK would be equally shunned by EU member states if it was to vote in favour of Brexit this summer.
According to global parcel broker ParcelHero, new duties, border delays and transport costs will push EU-based SMEs into trading with fellow member countries and abandoning British markets.
A recent survey of ParcelHero’s customers who regularly ship items to European non-EU members found that 66% of them would rather them to be inside the Union to cut down on red tape.
ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks MILT says: “The Swiss economy is held up by Leave campaigners as the trading model for the UK post-Brexit: but it’s a model riddled with more holes than Swiss cheese.
“For example, both Holland and Switzerland have a population of around 8million and so might be expected to be sent the same approximate number of parcels. Yet ParcelHero’s small business customers shipped over three times more items to Holland in 2015 than they did Switzerland. Clearly Switzerland is a less attractive market for SMEs.”
Though Switzerland is the UK’s tenth largest export market, this trade is largely led by large international companies specialising in chemicals, medical equipment and vehicles. Switzerland does not feature in the top ten import or export markets list for UK SMEs compiled by ParcelHero partners FedEx recently.
“The reason is not hard to fathom,” says David: “The costs of red tape, tariffs and border delays might be swallowed by large companies, but to smaller businesses they can be overwhelming.”